How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Persona — Part 2

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Types of info for an effective ideal customer profile go far for each company since it is expected to be helpful in their unique buying cycle which differs. This article will go over the instructions both for new and mature companies. 

The piece is made up of 3 parts. We went over why to change your attitude to ICP and BP in the first part. We explain how to make the profiles an integral part of the sales workflow in the third part.

How to Develop an Ideal Customer Profile

The creation covers: 

  • choosing the client metrics (e.g. revenue, customer retention сost),

  • defining classifying attributes (e.g. number of employees, technologies used), 

  • uncovering the similarities among your top clients. 

You can’t just take metrics and classifying attributes of a B2B ideal customer profile from a googled sample. They might be going for some companies while being useless for you. Here's the trick. The metrics help to single out clients that enable the company to achieve profit goals. You select classifying attributes based on relevance to the buying process and the niche. 

The more details, the better, as long as they play role in driving the lead to the deal. For example, some businesses may benefit from info about the company structure or the office size, while it may be irrelevant to you. Think meticulously about what attributes to add to the sales ICP.

Check the examples of metrics and attributes in the third part of the material (ICP customer template section). 

Now, let's focus on developing an ICP. B2B customer profiling differs for a new company and a mature business. A new one has little data and only a few clients to talk with. So they will mostly rely on guessing and testing. Below are two approaches to ICP development.

Define customer profile for a new project

  1. Collect direct and indirect competitors. Choose those products which make the same specific process a breeze for your clients.
  2. Look at their cases — they mention the top clients in the section. You will need the list later.
  3. Define the distinctive and justifiable product qualities.
  4. Identify pains resolved by your features. 
  5. Describe use-cases related to the challenges.
  6. Research verticals where companies have those specific problems and use-cases
  7. Find 100 leaders in the market
  8. Combine the list + competitors’ clients from the 2d point.
  9. Choose the right classifying attributes you find helpful for selling. Consider the vertical the solution in — typical characteristics may be applicable. 
  10. Prioritise teams that will take the most advantage of employing your service. It means the solution covers their top priority issues.
  11. Take the best 10 from the resulting list and gather info about them based on the chosen attributes. To avoid manually searching and entering the data, use the GetProspect enrichment tool. You export the list of companies, and the tool fills their size, vertical, location, etc.
  12. Unearth their commonalities and create an ideal customer profile (check the full template in the third part).
  13. Test it on the market. Create campaigns based on the ICP you got. Analyze the results and feedback. 
  14. Iterate when you discover further details about the sales ICP.

Customer ICP creation or update for a mature company

  1. Choose customer success metrics.
  2. Take the client list with the figures from CRM and arrange them in descending order.
  3. Select classifying attributes crucial for selling. Take into account the target market — specific characteristics may be applicable. 
  4. Fill in the chosen attributes about the top 10 clients. Take the info from the CRM or use the data enrichment tool we offered above. It will save you a ton of time.
  5. Find their commonalities and create an ideal customer profile (get the full ICP template in the third part).

 

Note! The top clients you’ve added to the list will have downsides anyway. It is impossible to find a truly ideal customer among them since they are real. Some companies may have a long decision making while buying a lot. Some companies will buy frequently, though the cheapest options alone. 

To put it simply, a B2B ideal customer profile is a fictional client which has only positive metrics. 

Uncover good missing opportunities

There might be groups of prospects that leave your pipeline at a particular stage. We recommend you thoroughly analyze the conversions along your sales pipeline. You may uncover the tendencies in some niches or business sizes.

The analysis outcomes may considerably update your ideal business customer profile or become the reason to create an additional sales ICP.

Touch base with the lost clients and interview why they decided to stop the deal with you. You may learn what you need to better in the sales process and get a new considerable group of leads. 

How to Сreate a Buyer Persona for B2B

Unearth the employees from the top 10 clients (you determined in the previous part about ICP) who face the challenges your solution deal with. A mature business can figure out a buying committee by analyzing the previous deals. Then find similarities related to their buying behavior. If you just started, a few sources that come to mind are to talk to potential clients; study their social media; podcasts, videos, written content around the client and its leaders.

To build a buyer persona, we can break the developing and updating into three steps: roles → attributes → why they buy. 

Roles

At this point, you figure out the job titles of people who have a final say in purchase decisions. 

If you are at the starting point with the product, analyze the following information: 

  • the pain points resolved with the solution

  • the client’s departments which find the issue a top priority 

  • the roles who lead the teams

Who are the decision-makers in a company

Here is a small cheatsheet on how to identify buyer personas in correlation with the employees.

Employees

Decision maker

0-10

CEO, aside from cases when they have partners into your product domain (CFO, CBDO, CTO)

10-50

Vice President of the department which will take advantage of the product (Design, Marketing, Business Development,) 

50-500

Specialized VP (Sales enablement, sales operations, outbound sales) 

> 500

Local specialized VP (France X, China X)

For mature businesses

In this case, analyze sales calls and messages and identify the average buying team. Then create personas for the most critical ones for making a sale. There may be decision-makers, influencers, users, gatekeepers, searchers, approvers.

Consider the questions:

  • Did a contact person mention anybody from the team they want to consult with?

  • Was anybody else from the client’s employees at the meetings?

↓ 

Attributes

Attributes make up the ideal buyer persona description separated from the product usage context: location, demographics, job features, etc. It helps narrow your search and refine your engagement (where, how, and when to reach). 

As for ICP, find qualifying characteristics that influence the buying cycle. The resources you’ll spend researching should match the benefits from the data. For a clear case in point, the attributes mostly — 

Make sense: geography (business specifics), nationality (cultural map), goals and KPIs.

Irrelevant: number of children, marital status.

Why they buy

The key part of the ideal buyer profile is to catch the true causality of a purchase. Analyzing a customer journey gives a picture of what are the attractive features to focus on, how to amplify your value, and what engagement experience drives them to a deal. What clients’ info to consider — have a look at the third part of the material. 

Bottom line

If you read all the way here, you know the killer way to build an ideal customer profile. You are free to choose how to put it into action. In the third part of the material, we suggest you an ideal customer profile framework that navigates you in gathering and structuring the data. Tips for implementation into your sales are also in the piece. Wait for a link in our LinkedIn or Twitter.

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